Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Ship models in the Monaco Naval Museum: Sailing Ships and Early Steamships

The museum's collection of model sailing ships and early steamships includes the following:

Turtle Ship (also known as Geobukseon) (Korea, 1415)

The Geobukseon was a type of large armoured warship that was used by the Royal Korean Navy from the early 15th century up until the 19th century. Its main purpose was to defend Korea from invading Japanese ships.


Galleon (Spain, 1545)

Galleons were large, multi-decked sailing ships that were primarily used by European states during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Galleon San'yago (or Santiago) (Spain, 1588)

This is possibly a model of either the Santiago el Mayor (24 guns) or the San Felipe y Santiago (24 guns), both of which took part in the Spanish Armada

Galleon Vasa (Sweden. 1628)

Vasa is a Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628. She sank during her maiden voyage on 10th August 1628. The largely intact remains of the ship were salvaged in 1961, and after prolonged conservation she is currently on display in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Frigate Olifant (Russia, 1704)

The Olifant had a short life, being launched in 1704 and broken up in 1712.

Galley Reale de France (France, 1694)

She was designed by Jean-Baptiste Chabert, and became the flagship of the French galley fleet during the reign of Louis XIV. She was decommissioned in 1720.

East Indiaman Boullongne (France, 1758)

Frigate USS Constitution (United States of America, 1797)

USS Constitution was one of six original frigates constructed as a result of the Naval Act of 1794. She and her sisters were designed by Joshua Humphreys and she was built in Edmund Hartt's shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts. She remained in service until she was decommissioned on 14th June 1855 at Portsmouth Navy Yard. USS Constitution was then converted to serve as a training ship, and remained in that role until 1871. She was subsequently overhauled so that she could participate in the centennial celebrations of the United States of America, but after sailing to France and back in 1878 she reverted to being a training ship.

In 1881 she was moved to the Portsmouth Navy Yard, where she was used as a receiving ship until 1897, at which point she was moved yet again, this time to Boston. After being used as a barracks she was partially restored and in 1907 she became a museum. She was renamed USS Old Constitution so that her original name could be used for one of the new Lexington-class battle cruisers. When this new ship was not built, Old Constitution reverted to her original name.

Since then she has been restored several times, and between 1931 and 1934 she visited ninety port cities along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts before returning to Boston. She has been restored and reconstructed several times since then, and today she is a visitor attraction that is used to promote a greater understanding of the United States Navy's role in war and peace. USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.

Sloop Mirny (Russia, 1818)

Whilst building Mirny was originally named Ladoga, but when it was decided that she should be used as an expedition ship, her incomplete hull was remodelled and she was renamed.

Mirny took part in the First Russian Antarctic Expedition in 1819—1821, during which the Vostok and the Mirny circumnavigated the globe, visited and twice circumnavigated Antarctica, and discovered a number of islands and archipelagos in the Southern Ocean and the Pacific.

Steam Frigate Svietlana (Russia, 1858)

Svietlana was built in Bordeaux, France. She served in the Mediterranean Sea during 1859–1860 and then in the Northern Pacific from 1860 until 1862. She visited Brazil in 1867–1868 and the USA and Japan in 1871–1873. She returned to the Mediterranean Sea from 1875 to 1877 before becoming a training ship in 1878. She was decommissioned and scrapped in 1892.

Steam Frigate HMS Warrior (Britain, 1861)

HMS Warrior and her sister ship, HMS Black Prince, were the world's first ocean-going iron armoured ships. HMS Warrior was completed in October 1861 and re-armed between 1864 and 1867. In 1881 she became a training ship on the Clyde, and 1884 she was re-rated as an reserve armoured cruiser. She remained in reserve until 1902, when she became a torpedo depot ship in Portsmouth. In 1904 she was re-named Vernon III, but reverted to her original name in 1923. She was hulked six years later, and re-named C77 in 1945. She was restored in 1979 and is now preserved at Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Barque Belem (France, 1898)

Built in Nantes, France, Belem was originally a cargo ship. She was used to transport sugar from the West Indies as well as cocoa, and coffee from Brazil and French Guiana to Nantes, France. In 1914 to she was bought by the Duke of Westminster, who had converted her into luxurious pleasure yacht with auxiliary diesel engines.

She was sold again in 1922 to Sir Arthur Ernest Guinness, who renamed her Fantôme II. After Sir Arthur died in 1949 she passed through the hands of several owners. (1951: New owner Vittorio Cini renamed her the Giorgio Cini in memory of his dead son; 1972: The Italian Carabinieri attempted to restore her to the original barque rig but this proved too expensive.)

She reverted to her original name Belem in 1979 and was converted into a sail training ship in Nantes, which remains her home port.)


  1. A good deal of the excellence of the Ship-Modellers craft- superb models. Thanks BOB.

    1. Kev,

      The collection is a magnificent one.

      All the best,


  2. Those are brilliant and I have seen three of the originals! When my eyes get too bad for painting soldiers I am going to move over to ship models!

    1. Legatus Hedlius,

      They are wonderful models ... and I would love to have the level of skill and patience to build models of that quality.

      All the best,